Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Identity Crisis

Are you unsure of your role in life? Do you feel like you don't know the "real you"?

Theorist Erik Erikson coined the term 'identity crisis'. It's a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself. He said the emergence of an identity crisis occurs during the teenage years.
I didn't have typical teenage years, my youngest sister was born the week I graduated from grammar school, both parents worked and had other issues, so my oldest sister and I quickly became caretakers of an infant. I started a full time job at a bank when I was 16 (enrolled in a special school program, I received credit for working). I grew up too fast. I married young and didn't go to college, so I didn't have those wild carefree days away from home.  I'm not complaining about that part,  I loved my life as a wife and mother.

I think it's time to be a teenager, to explore and have fun. Carefree - no obligations.

 Identity Issue
Legally - I'm not married, I don't have a husband anymore. The vows did say 'til death do we part, or something like that.  When I fill out a form at the dentist, I have to check the box "single". I had to change my emergency contact.  I have to file my taxes as a single person.  What do I put for my status on Facebook? - I left it blank. In my blog, I often mention "my husband", this may be confusing for some new readers that have not read the entire blog. I read several blogs written by widows, they refer to their husbands by his first initial.  I don't feel like I am single, I spent 2/3 of my life with Stump. I don't like the word "widow".  

 I have created a photo/memorabilia album that I have been working on for a few months, it starts in 1974 and goes to 2009. Photos, dried flowers, ticket stubs, vacation brochures, charms, etc.  My whole "past life" fits in one photo album. I can take it with me on my journey.
Time to start a new life, I can't have yesterday - I can only live for TODAY.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Food Storage Questions

My new rig.......I'm not worried about gas prices.

I'm back into the planning stage..........
Countdown to Takeoff

Does anyone have a food vacuum seal machine?
What brand is it?  Do you like it/use it often?

Does anyone have a good storage idea for fresh Ginger,
I had a small piece in the fridge, and when I went to use it today, it was moldy. I bought it about a week ago.

What is your best idea for keeping food fresh, especially if you are boondocking and away from stores for awhile?

I think that freezing is probably the best way to keep things, but not all fruits and veges can be frozen and retain texture.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comforting Thoughts

Thanks for all of
the comforting comments.

Again, I repeat
this blog is my therapy

A week before I started this blog,
I considered setting an
appointment with
a therapist,

but I could not picture
myself sitting in an office
and trying to explain
everything to them

They would probably tell me
I am trying to run away from my problems,
 I don't see it that way.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teri vs Family

Am I a bad person if I want to keep on going with my plans to move, if family members are having a hard time?

No one in my family knows of this blog, I figured I would tell them about it when I started posting my travel data so they could keep track of me. I talk to my daughter about everything, but I didn't tell her about the blog yet. I needed this to be for me, just me, at this time.

My dad is waiting for information about a leaky valve of his heart, my sister just texted me - her blood pressure is super high, she didn't want to go to the hospital, I told her "just go". 

I really do care about everyone, but does anyone know that I need time for myself, when my husband died (less than 16 months ago), my mother was gravely ill and died 4 months after him. I spend almost everyday with my dad, he works part time and gets out but he has health issues and he needs help to do paperwork that my mom took care of.

I don't want anyone taking care of me, I just want to go and have some time alone so that I can think and figure out what the next step in my life is. I met my husband when I was 16 and married at 18. We were married for 33 years, I need to figure out who I am, now that I am on my own.

Monday, February 21, 2011

RV Show

I didn't make it to the Chicago RV Show this past weekend. My schedule didn't cooperate. Although I know that I am not going to buy a new RV, I wanted to look around and get a better feel for the sizes and different styles.
Does anyone know of any other Midwest Shows this spring?
It has been at least 10 years since I was inside an RV, and I have never driven one. Ooops, forgot that I did go look at one in my neighborhood that was listed on Craigs List last year, but it was very old and did not feel right when I was inside checking it out.

I have been reading and researching, I don't mind sleeping in a cabover bunk that is common in Class C's (when we traveled by Amtrak, I always slept in the upper bunk). I have been reading alot about water seeping into this area. So I think I will pass on this type.......

There is a class B+ that I have found that does not have the cabover sleeping area, I would have to use the couch for the bed, it does have a slide. Since its only me, I think that would be ok for a first time RV. I want to go take a look at this rig, but I am going to wait a few more weeks until the weather improves, it's 6 years old with low mileage.

I ordered some info from an RV Consumer Group and I am reading all about what to look at and check out when buying a used RV.

The RV is about an hour away from my house, and hopefully it will still be there when I decide take a ride, if not, then I will continue looking. It is priced a little higher than I think it's worth, so I hope they are open to negotiations.

Any thoughts or suggestions for a newbee would be most appreciated.  Thanks.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kindred Spirits

Thanks, I have some new friends/followers this week.

It's amazing how this little blog can connect me to so many people that share the same passions and thoughts that I have.

I have always been more of a "homebody" type, when my daughter was young, I was a stay at home mom. Sewed clothes for my daughter, had a vege garden in the yard, built my own raised gardening beds on a city lot, cooked and baked bread, dreamed of having a farm.  I took care of some repairs while my husband worked long, crazy hours at his job, mostly 2nd shift (2:30 to 10:30) plus a lot of overtime. Eventually I grew bored of this and started my own income tax business. I have always been pretty self sufficient, but I missed out on the connection of sharing my dreams with someone other than my husband and daughter.

I never nurtured the kind of relationships with girlfriends that I could call everyday to tell all my problems to.  My life was my husband and our daughter. I have a friend that I didn't keep in touch with when she moved to Florida over 30 years ago, and I regret that. We could talk about anything together. We are facebook friends, and send emails occasionally, but I really need to get back in touch with her. Maybe an RV winter trip to Florida.

Now I am finding this type of relationship on "Blogger". It just amazes me that we can all talk to each other so easily.

And many of you have met each other in person and the friendships are lasting. I hope to meet you guys while I am on the road.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Customer Service

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to have such a GOOD customer service experience that I had to blog about it.

I use a "multi computer" package from McAfee Security for my computers. Yesterday the program on my desktop said my computer was not protected. When I clicked on my subscription info, I was taken to a link to buy software. My current subscription expires in May.

I called customer service and only waited one minute to talk to someone, she changed my email (it was originally registered using my husbands email), updated my automatic billing credit card info, reset my subscription and emailed the details on how to get it running properly - all this in under 10 minutes. And it did not take too long to download the fix and get the message that my computer was now protected.

Wow, before I called them, I had my note pad ready to record how long I waited, who I talked to, and my list of complaints - because I figured I would have to contact them a 2nd time or send a nasty email to them after the phone call.

I could not believe that I didn't have to fight to get what I wanted.
Don't you usually hate calling customer service for any kind of technology stuff?

I really need to upgrade my cell phone, maybe I should hurry up and do it now, before my luck changes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life, Laughter & Memories

While we have the gift of life,
It seems to me the only tragedy
is to allow part of us to die,
whether it is our spirit,
our creativity,
or our glorious uniqueness
-Gilda Radner

Reading this quote, reminded me of watching Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live in the 70's/80's.
Our kids were infants and toddlers, on Saturday evenings we would all get together (my sister and me, our husbands and kids) and order pizza and watch videos or TV and always "Saturday Night Live".
Gilda Radner was part of the original cast. We would laugh and laugh at all of the silly skits.

Laughter is the best medicine, we all need laughter.

Life is about not knowing,
having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what's going to happen next.
Gilda Radner 1946-1989

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Healthy Eating, Part 2

When I was feeling sick last week, I vowed to start taking better care of myself. On that same day, I started a new blog to record my weight, exercise and diet.  Since I read too much and do a lot of research, I am also including bits of info on the other blog that I discover about health.
I didn't want to include all of the diet stuff on this blog, as most of you won't have an interest in it.

I'm not real computer savvy on how to put a link "here". So if you look at "my profile", the other blog is there.

I have to find natural ways to reduce my blood pressure, it is borderline right now.  If I can't reduce it, I will have to start taking medication.  I do not want to take medication.
I starting gaining weight when we bought a 2nd car and moved to the suburbs, no sidewalks, not too many places to walk.  But, it wasn't enough to cause any medical problems, just made me buy larger size jeans.     I know that exercise is the key, and I prefer walking or hiking, but am stuck inside most of the winter.

In August of 2004, I did the 60 mile charity walk for Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Research.  I know I have the ability to workout and do training. I had to do a lot of training and exercising to be ready to do that walk. I had made a committment to finish the walk, and didn't want to back down from the challenge.

As I look back, it seems that shortly after that walk, things started going downhill.
I was taking care of many people (family and clients) and not thinking about myself.

Really, when I think back, it's like ...Why did I do that??? I feel like I lost some years.
Time to make that committment to ME.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Income Tax

So, it's that time of year again. I have been a tax preparer since 1983. Licensed with the IRS as an Enrolled Agent since 1995. A few years ago I  prepared close to 1500 tax returns a year, plus business taxes. Now I am semi-retired and I do only a few hundred returns. Some I do at home for friends and family, and I also work part-time at another tax office.

I don't miss the long hours (8am to midnite-5 days a week, plus 6-8 hrs on Saturday and the occasional Sunday). These long hours were for only 4 months of the year, but totalled almost as many hours as someone working 40 hours a week for 48 weeks.

I don't do any business taxes now. Small Businesses need to have their accountant available all year round, and I don't want to do that. I only work on Individual Tax Returns.  I still enjoy tax preparation work and have a hard time stopping completely. Even though I get totally frustrated with the changes that Congress makes, I still like to help people save money by finding deductions they were not aware of.

I'm thinking that this job is pretty portable, and that I should be able to make some extra money every year doing tax returns no matter where I am.

Many of my tax clients would mail their returns to me after they moved out of Illinois.

Do you have your tax returns prepared in the area you are traveling or do you send them back to the tax preparer you had when you owned a house?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spring is on the way......

It was in the 40's today
and the snow is starting to melt.
and we had more minutes of daylight.
Before we know it the tulips will be blooming.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Healthy Eating

I let myself get away from good healthy eating habits, and I think that is why I have not been feeling well. My resistance was low, and I have been spending alot of time in doctors offices with my Dad, around too many sick people and too many germs.

I am going to start today to get back to  healthy "green" eating. Mostly vegetarian with occasional meat. Avoiding bread, pasta and sugar.  I started eating "green" about 5 years ago, but when I get frustrated or tired or I'm rushing around, I go back to grabbing anything that does not need to be prepared.

I have read about "green smoothies" and enjoy making and drinking them. I have been lazy about it, they are not that difficult, a few minutes to wash and chop the ingredients.  Today, I checked out some websites and copied down a dozen recipes for green smoothies and will make one tonite (instead of eating bagels and canned soup and pudding).  It's no fun cooking for one person, but I think I can spend a few minutes to make something fresh and healthy. I want to avoid all processed foods.

A few minutes of work to improve my health is a good deal.

I don't want to spend the next 30 or 40 years visiting 7 different doctors and taking a dozen or more prescriptions like most of the seniors that I know. Nutrition is the only way I know to counteract this. I think all of the processed foods created in the 50's have created all of the health problems of today.

I don't want to sound preachy, but I have spent many, many years driving family and friends to many doctors appointments, and none of their health has been improved by the prescriptions.

Most of us know that we should eat better, but are tempted by all of the "fake foods" around us. I fell off the wagon, but I am getting back on a healthy eating plan starting right now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sick Today

Woke at 4:44 am with the worse headache ever and nausea.
Made Tea and took aspirin, but it didn't help.

Is it the flu??? Or a sinus infection??? Or my body is tired.
Can't seem to regulate my body temp, too hot then cold.

Called my Dad at 6:15 a.m., told him to cancel his doctors appointment, I'm staying in today.
Called the office I'm doing some parttime work at, left a message, "sorry not coming in today".

I don't usually get sick, I think it's all of the artificially heated indoor air. I need to be outside more often.

2pm more tea and some soup, headache is better, but not gone.
Staying in bed all day, but not real sleepy.

Central heat and central air is not good for us. I need to find a location for the winter that won't require a lot of indoor heating. I know it gets cold in the desert at night.  Maybe a small adobe, passive solar house... would help take the chill off. Or, what's the weather like on the Texas coast in winter, maybe a beach cabin is what I need.

My RV journey will help me find the right location. I just need a small cabin to stay in when I don't want to be on the road.

I want to travel and there are many places I want to see, but I also like having a small yard and a place to have a garden, etc. So, I may only full-time for a few years. But I don't want to be tied to a house that I have to worry about when I am traveling. Trying to figure out the right combination and won't make a decision until I get out there.

I see I have some new followers, thanks for joining me on my journey.

Thursday, February 10, 2011



-9 this morning

Cold and tired

Can't think of anything to blog about.

I think my brain is frozen

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cell Phones

Seems like cell phones are something that most of us have a love/hate relationship with.

I have used Sprint for many years, we have 4 phones on a family plan. My dad took over my husbands phone, and my daughter and her husband are in Colorado, but they are on my plan.

I have an old flip phone that does not have a QWERTY keypad. My daughter and I text each other often and it takes me longer to send a message and I also have a hard time seeing pics that she sends to me.

So, what type of phone do you use? What phone service do you have/are you happy with your phone service?

I have been thinking about a satellite phone, I think they get service everywhere, have to do more research and see if Sprint has them.  I haven't changed my phone in many, many years, so I have some upgrade credits waiting for me.

I could update to an Android? based phone. But, I actually like my phone to be just a phone, and maybe a camera...but I don't need my phone to be a secretary.

Don't want to get an IPhone - because I have been happy with my service from Sprint.
Sometimes technology is too complicated, but it seems like we need to have it.
I would still like to keep it as simple as possible.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thoughts about....

Life begins
at the end of your comfort zone.
-Neale David Walsh

Our purpose is already encoded in our souls
before we are born and therefore
 there is someone inside us who knows what it is.
Watch for synchonicities.
They are signposts to purpose.

You have to strive every minute
to get rid of the life you have planned
in order to have
the life that's waiting to be yours.
-Joseph Campbell

The price of anything
is the amount of life you exchange for it.
-Henry Thoreau

If you don't risk anything,
you risk even more.
-Erica Jong

No, these thoughts do not mean that I am just going to go off and do things without thinking.
I am still taking my time to get things in order and making some plans, but I am not planning out every single step along the way.
I want to see where life is going to take me.

Monday, February 7, 2011


All the talk of Alaska is driving me crazy. When my niece was helping me shovel the 2 feet of snow last week, she sculpted the edge of the snow pile, and she said "look, I made you a glacier, now you don't have to go to Alaska". I have wanted to go on an extended trip to Alaska for many years.
I've had the opportunity to take a one week cruise, but I wanted more than that, so I waited.

Many years ago, I started a subscription to the Alaska magazine and bought a pair of MukLuks (warm & comfy here in Illinois, too). I have many books about Alaska and people who live in/traveled to Alaska.

I was thinking.... when I buy my RV this year, I would plan a trip to Alaska for 2012. Now I'm going crazy trying to decide if I should just go this year. It would be totally crazy and insane, and probably not a good idea for a first solo trip.

But I have been known to do things impulsively.

I started blogging after reading Jen's blog "".
She took a solo trip to Alaska and the Arctic Circle.
So, it can be done.
Take a deep breath, think this through. Alaska will still be there in 2012. Use 2011 to travel around and get used to my new life.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Thanks for all of the positive comments.
I am patiently waiting until the day I can spend time with others that think like me.

Any change, any loss, does not make us victims.
Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you,
but they can't prevent you from acting,
from taking the situation you're presented with
and moving on.
No matter where you are in life,
no matter what your situation,
you can always do something.
You always have a choice
and the choice can be power.
                          -Blaine Lee

Saturday, February 5, 2011


How do you make decisions?

I believe that our intuition/gut feelings should control our decision making process.

Have you ever ran into a problem and then said to yourself,
"I had a feeling that this was a bad idea"?

Why do we go against our intuition? How do we help ourselves to listen to our gut feelings about situations? How do we know when wishful thinking is masking our intuition?

I think we let things like fear and guilt get in the way. We make decisions based on what others will think, or what we think someone else needs and not what we need.

Sometimes I would make a decision based on intuition and it would work out for me and anger others.  Many times, I would not listen to my intuition and give in to the desires of someone else.

I need to be true to myself without worrying about others.

My husband would often talk about "being selfish", he felt we needed to learn to say "NO" to others and "YES" to us.

It is time to say "YES" to "ME".

I've talked with my daughter about my plans and she is very supportive.  I have talked to a few of my friends, but most people think that I am just leaving to go to my daughters house in Colorado and maybe do a little sightseeing.

Except for my blogging buddies, I feel that I am all alone in my excitement for the future, I wish I had someone close by to share in the planning.

I am ready and deep down I know this is the right thing for me to do.  I have such an overwhelming desire to get moving, but I am also being practical and making sure I take care of paperwork and finances before I leave.

So, I should be ready to hit the road by June.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fossil Freeway

Tired of the weather, back to dreaming.............

I have been searching the web for some volunteer
 or workamp positions
all the signs point to me leaving here in June
I'm doing my best to keep on track for this timeline
how cool would it be to work at
Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry
or Badlands National Park

Several years ago I was searching the internet for a place to live that had low humidity and a decent climate for most of the year.
 What we all want: not too hot, not too cold, low humidity, etc. . .
As with any search on the web, links take you in all different directions.  I came across the town of Thermopolis, Wyoming as having a very good "comfort index", researching this town lead to a book.
copyright   Night & Day Studio  2007

I'm reading an interesting book
Cruisin' The Fossil Freeway
paleontologist Kirk Johnson
artist Ray Troll

I originally purchased this book as a gift for my husband so that he could plan a road trip for us.
But life got in the way and we put the plans on hold.

I came across the book last week and decided to read the entire book instead of just flipping through it.

The authors traveled in a big blue 1983 pickup truck
An interesting thought from the book:
Oil is not made of Dinosuars
Big blue was a gas hog, getting only 12 miles per gallon.
 Our 5,000 mile round trip used about 420 gallons of gas,
 releasing nearly four tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
 Eighty million years ago, during the Cretaceous,
 marine plankton extracted carbon dioxide from the warm sea that covered Colorado.
Then the plankton died and sank to the seafloor,
where it was buried and fossilized, eventually maturing into buried petroleum.
Our trip was fueled by fossils from a greenhouse world,
and Big Blue's emissions,
 which will hang in the atmosphere for the next hundred years,
 are doing their part to return our modern world to greenhouse conditions.

Interesting information, I hope I get to work at some of the sites described in the book.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thankful for Family!

My niece, her boyfriend and my nephew came to help me shovel. This was a welcome surprise.

Luckily..... they have a four wheel drive truck, the street in front of my house was not plowed yet.

3 young, strong kids (late 20's not really kids) can shovel a lot faster than me.

I am so grateful that they thought about me and came by to help.

I was going to posts pics of the good job they did, but I have misplaced my camera.
I hope it didn't drop out of my pocket into the snow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Drifts

Posting some pictures from around my house

It's strange... because of the blowing winds....some areas around the house have no snow and other areas have large drifts that are at least 4' tall.
Looking out my back door, the official snowfall is about 18"
but the drifts are a lot higher 

 In my garage, looking towards the street
my driveway is at least 75' long
It's gonna take me a few days to shovel myself out

 I couldn't open the back door from inside,
luckily there was no snow on the front porch

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Staying Inside

It seems that most of the country is being hit with some type of bad weather.
If you are in an area that is affected, I hope you can stay inside and keep warm and dry.

As long as my Dad does not need anything, I should be able to stay inside and stay warm and dry. I'm not real concerned about getting out to shovel yet. I will wait to see how much snow we get.
Right now the snow is blowing and drifting, so it is not covering up the driveway.

Stay safe and pray that it's not going to get as bad as predicted.

Drake Tax Software

Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb